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Experience a by-gone era at the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village

By Staff | Nov 22, 2017

Emilie Alfino, executive director of the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, with ‘60’s memorabilia. ASHLEY GOODMAN

Take a step back in time during the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village’s annual luminary celebration.

“A Sanibel ’60s Christmas, Change is on the Way” will take place at the museum Friday, Dec. 1, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

This year’s event places a large focus on the causeway.

“The causeway opened in 1963 and with that, the whole island changed. Prior to that, there was only about 100 people living here,” said Gayle Pence, chair of the event. “A lot of the homesteaders and original people here did not want the causeway. They wanted it to be just how it was.”

Pence said the causeway was the beginning of Sanibel getting organized to become a city.

For the luminary celebration, each building in the village will be decorated in a different ’60’s theme.

“Every building will be interactive,” Pence said.

The Morning Glories Cottage will be decorated similar to how a snowbird would have decorated their house during that time.

“The Sears kit houses was where our winter residents lived. It’s how they would decorate their houses for the holidays,” Pence said.

Miss Charlotta’s Tea Room will feature a sampling of popular ’60’s restaurants.

“What’s now the Jacaranda was Scottie’s and they only had five different items on the menu and they always served everything on paper plates. We’ll also have Golden Sands which was McT’s and we’re going to have the Harbour House which is now Il Cielo,” Pence said. “We’re going to have a collection of restaurants that were here on the island and some of their menus. The tea room will be decorated with tie-dye table cloths.”

The fishing retreat, also known as the Burnap Cottage, will pay homage to Esperanza Woodring. The school house will be decorated with help from The Sanibel School’s Boy Scout Troop and the students.

“They made renditions of 45′ RPM records. They wrote little sayings around the labels. Their art department always displays their art there also,” Pence said.

The Rutland House will feature ’60’s memorabilia.

“In the Rutland House, there’s a photo opportunity. People will have the opportunity to put on outfits and we’ll take their picture,” she said. “What else is really neat there is that we’ll have one of our volunteers play piano. We’ll also have refreshments served out here by our garden.”

Lastly, in Shore Haven’s garden room the “Peppermint Twist” will be playing.

From 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., the BIG ARTS Chorus will play. The Brass Ensemble will perform from 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. The event is free to the public.

“From 4 to 5:30 p.m. you’ll hear Christmas music around the village, it’s a fun time,” she said.

Every guest will also receive a reproduced causeway coupon book.

Pence said that over the years, the event has grown exponentially.

“We’ve evolved. Three years ago, we had a little over 100 people. Last year, we had over 600. It’s our gift to the community. This is way of showing people of Sanibel and their guests what Sanibel was like during this particular period,” Pence said.

Other organizers who helped put the event together include Connie Jump, Nanette Laurion and Laura Beckenbaugh.

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is located at 950 Dunlop Road. For more information, call 239-472-4648 or go to sanibelmuseum.org.